I have always loved Narnia. Though, I admit I was a late bloomer to the Narnian world of wonders. I only really found out about it when I was about 15 just before the first movie hit. Still, I have loved the books. Devoured the movies. Most of the time I find that I either like the movie version or the book version of a story better, but there was something about Narnia that drew me to both of the versions interchangeably. Still yet, I have loved the soundtracks to the films as well. Some 10 years later after the fact, I still listen to them and they still bring me goose bumps, and let me soar on their wings of majesty.
It wasn’t until recently I ran across the “Prince Caspian” soundtrack in my car that I put it on. It was probably the first time I’d listened to it since moving to Texas. I had it blaring in my car as I coasted on a drive through the country side.
The song “This is Home” by Switchfoot came on and it seemed as if I was hearing the words anew, as if for the first time. Thus, I realized something. The song was actually describing me. I remember having listened to it years ago and loved the music but the word never truly made sense to me. I guess it was because I’d never had that experience or nothing to relate it to. But the song is describing someone being called home to a foreign place that we were made for, where we belong, and are perfectly fitted for it. All the spiritual aspects of that aside, I realized that Texas has been to me what Narnia was to the Pevensie children. This song, though I’ve known and have sung it for many years, is now my own and I can sing it and mean it and understand it because I’ve lived it.
“I’ve got my memories
Always inside of me
But I can’t go back
Back to how it was
I believe you now
I’ve come too far
No I can’t go back
Back to how it was
Created for a place I’ve
never known; This is home
Now I’m finally back to where I belong”
While I loved growing up in South Florida, smack in the middle between Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, the epitome of urban city, I cannot go back. I cannot be who I used to be. I cannot fitin the places I once fit. I am different. I have grown. I cannot fit there again because I am not the same person anymore. I never felt in my heart that Florida was me, that it was home. I used to long for quiet, curvy roads in woodlands of adventure, not high traffic city high-rises or street racing competitions. I remember taking long drives out into the marshlands of the Florida Everglades. It was a 45-minute drive just to make it out of the city and onto I-27 driving into nowhere. I loved driving out there. Few cars, lots of open space (which is a vast commodity in S. FL), and giant electric landlines. It was passive and quiet. And every now and again you’d have to stop for the giant alligator crossing the road (no joke).
I loved my life growing up. I cherish the memories with the Romanian community I grew up with there, and the friends and memories cultivated there. Beach life was awesome. Always hot, always ready for a swim, or at the very least, a walk on the 68 degree “frozen” beach in winter.
I do miss the condominium I called home for 20 years, overlooking the Intracoastal watching speedboats and day cruises fly by leaving green churning waters behind in their wake. It was breath-taking beauty and I’ve realized its something many people would give their right arm for. But it was not what I yearned for.
Coming to San Antonio, the big city with a country feel, has been the adventure of my life. I left everyone and everything I’d ever known behind to follow what I felt God calling me to do, move away. I’ve grown so much from the Lilly that I used to be in the almost 5 years that l left. Its been an adventure, no doubt. I’ve grown in my faith, having to solely depend on God for a lot of things. I’ve grown as a person, as a writer, and even as a crafter.
About Texas. Well… It’s large, it vast, it’s wild. Literally. I have driven on the road with a peacock almost as tall as my car staring back at me while I’m stopped at a light on a major access road. I’ve narrowly missed colliding into wild boar as they come out of the trees and cross the roads. I’ve had to drive 2o miles slower than the limit at night because unlike S. FL. there are not a lot of lights and deer are always about. I’ve hiked along paths shared alongside Buzzards with wingspans the size of my two arms and then some. I’ve met a fox or two. I’ve been greeted by a flock of Turkeys (mind you the flock is really called a rafter). I’ve watcher Heron take off from tree, its wings audible from 50-100 meters away. Oh- and lets not forget I’ve found about 17 species of wild mushroom.
There is a wild, sentimental natural beauty in Texas that was never or could never be a part of my life there. I’ve seen beauty impossible in FL. I’ve grown in unimaginable ways. I am braver because of Texas (and its ginormous bugs), stronger because of the amazing people that just “happen” to drop onto my path who carry me through remarkably unsurvivable things and in remarkable ways. Of course coming to a place I’d never really known, save the few visits I had as a kid and knowing enough people to count on one hand leaves a lot of room for God to fill. And He has. With people, places, experiences… so many good things. Sure, trials too, but even in those God has proven Himself faithful.
For me, I am beginning to trust more. Trust God and even people. I am beginning to blossom into the lily of the field that God is providing for, without my scheming, without my worrying. My journey has just begun and I can say for the first time in a long time that I feel a light brimming inside my soul that has not seen a dawning in many a fort-night, but it is churning. The inside is turning outward and all that was will be remade within, like a caterpillar regurgitating itself from the inside out.